An Irish Country Family: An Irish Country Novel (Irish Country Books)

Written by Patrick Taylor
Review by Sarah Hendess

In this enjoyable fourteenth installment of the Irish Country series, Patrick Taylor returns readers to the Northern Irish village of Ballybucklebo. This offering includes two alternating timelines. In spring 1969, Dr. Barry Laverty and his wife struggle to start a family while Dr. Fingal Flahertie O’Reilly and the other townspeople work to hold their community together while nearby Belfast is rent by sectarian strife. In flashbacks to 1963, we see Dr. Laverty in his final houseman’s year as he decides he wants to enter general practice where he can get to know his patients personally.

As expected from a book in this series, An Irish Country Family is filled with colorful characters, medical mysteries, heartache, and several laugh-out-loud moments. A doctor himself, Taylor uses more than a bit of technical medical jargon, but readers can easily skim over it without missing important details.

Less easy to overlook, however, are the multiple instances of unnatural dialogue. In many places, characters say aloud things that the other characters in the scene would already know, such as a best friend’s backstory or the purpose of a meeting they’ve all shown up for. This is clearly done for the reader’s benefit and would have been much smoother and less jarring in narration than dialogue.

That quibble aside, however, Taylor has delivered another feel-good tale with a happy, if predictable, ending. Fans of the series should be satisfied.